New relationship energy (or NRE) refers to a state of mind experienced at the beginning of sexual and romantic relationships, typically involving heightened emotional and sexual feelings and excitement. NRE begins with the earliest attractions, may grow into full force when mutuality is established, and can fade over months or years. The term indicates contrast to those feelings aroused in an “old” or ongoing relationship.
And I’ll tell you, NRE is a heady drug.
It feels bubbly. Shiny. Sparkly. Sexy. New. Fresh. Fun. Full of things to discover and bodies to explore.
It’s all that and a bag of chips.
And it can be scary when it’s not happening to you, but to someone you love—or are at least emotionally invested in—and it’s with someone else.
So scary that it can keep people awake at night, turn coupled bliss into jealous terror, and even break up relationships.
Yes, of course I’m going to admit that.
I certainly can’t deny it.
I mean, sure, some people say “It’s JUST NRE, it’s not going to change what we have,” and sometimes they aren’t lying.
Most of the time they are.
It WILL change things.
Not always for the worst, or in big ways.
But yeah, probably at least some change.
On the men’s dominance and relationship forums I participate in, one man kept wanting to discuss nonmonogamy.
The funny thing was that he kept approaching it, then backing off. Again and again.
I was talking about my partner and I and some of the escapades we’ve had together with other people, and he said to me:
“Are you two immune to these seemingly natural inevitabilities? I mean, at some point it just seems someone is going to be a bit smitten with something about one of these other partners, or one of these other partners with either of you.”
Which is what NRE is.
To which I replied:
What we have is better than anything else we ever had. Grass-is-greener syndrome is not a factor in what we share.
I get smitten quite a bit. That’s part of my personality. So what? Smitten is smitten. It’s not a year of building something amazing. It’s not getting to know each other deeply. It’s not compatibility. Or steadfastness. Or love.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. We’ve had a few bumps and bruises.
- There was the time that a new potential beau added a relationship status with me on FetLife (without my consent) that Pet saw first.
- There was the time that another fling interrupted/co-opted one of our (then) “sacred times,” or weekly date time.
- There was the time his attention to someone rubbed me the wrong way, because it was sooooo different than his to me.
But overall, our policy of open communication about what we want and need from each other has trumped everything else that’s been thrown in our path.
I look at it as a matter of knowing what we want.
Who we want to belong to.
Who we want to be with and who we want to play with.
Then, we can enjoy it all.
No matter how kinky we are, not matter who we love, it all boils down to one thing:
Know what you want and show it.
What are your thoughts?
If you’re nonmonogamous, how do you deal with NRE? In yourself? In others? What’s your biggest challenge?
Even monogamous people get to deal with NRE in friendships. I’ve know spouses to get upset over their partner spending “so much time” with a new friend—a platonic one.
Ever experience that?